Forum to explore "The Possibility of Peace"

Posted: Thursday, October 07, 2010

The University of Alaska Southeast will host this year's World Affairs Forum at its Auke Lake campus this weekend. The annual event is organized by the Juneau chapter of the World Affairs Council, an umbrella organization comprised of nearly 100 nonprofit member organizations across the United States.

The free forum will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and will include speaker presentations, panel discussions and participatory workshops through Sunday evening. Six speakers will travel to Juneau to give lectures in reference to this year's topic, "The Possibility of Peace: Non-violent Strategies to Resolve International Conflict." The forum intends to spark a dialogue among Juneauites about national and international current events.

Friday's lecturers include Erica Chenoweth and Julie Mertus.

Chenoweth is a professor of government at Wesleyan University who has published numerous written works and has given presentations based on her research throughout the United States and Europe. Her presentation is titled "Rethinking International Political Violence: The Strategic Logic of Non-violent Conflict."

Mertus, a professor at American University in Washington, D.C., will speak on "Human Rights and Non-Violent Struggles." Her research has taken her around the globe and she is a frequent commentator on human rights and humanitarian issues.

Saturday's program will begin at 10 a.m. with Lawrence Wittner's lecture, "How Peace Activists Saved the World from Nuclear War." Currently a professor of history at the State University of New York at Albany, his research has included the history of U.S. foreign policy, international history and the history of peace movements.

The forum's first panel discussion will follow at 11:30 a.m., featuring Chenoweth, Mertus, Wittner and Craig Etcheson discussing "Armed Conflict as a Failure of Policy, Diplomacy and Political Organization."

After lunch, Judith Thompson of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding will speak "On the Frontiers of Social Healing: Thinking Outside the Box." Thompson will also lead the evening's workshop, "Four Part Harmony: Truth, Justice, Peace and Mercy on the Path to Social Healing" at 7 p.m.

The second panel discussion will be held at 4 p.m., featuring Etcheson, Mertus, Thompson and Itonde Kakoma. The topic will be "Post Conflict Restorative Justice."

Sunday's program will begin at 10 a.m. with Etcheson's presentation on "Reconciliation: What it is and how to get it." Etcheson is the author of several books and studies and is currently a visiting scholar at the Foreign Policy Institute of John Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Kakoma will deliver the final lecture of the day at 1:30 p.m., speaking on "The Truth and Reconciliation Process in Africa." Kakoma works as a mediator and transitional justice expert who has been contracted to support mediation efforts in Liberia, among other projects.

Two panel discussions will be held Sunday, the first at 11:30 a.m. with Kakoma, Chenoweth, Etcheson and Wittner discussing "Citizen Non-violent Engagement and Political Change." The second, "Why We Go to War," will take place at 4 p.m. with Chenoweth, Mertus, Thompson and Wittner.

Breaks and breakout sessions will occur intermittently throughout each day's program. Time will be allotted for question-and-answer sessions following each speaker's presentation.

For detailed schedules and in-depth speaker profiles, visit the Juneau World Affairs Council website at

• Contact reporter Libby Sterling at 523-2272 or at

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